SAN FRANCISCO (Jul. 19)
Two Americans living in Israel are among the 3,944 delegates to the Democratic national convention at the Moscone Center here.
Shirley Olman, who has been living in Jerusalem for the last years, and David Froelich, an Ashdod school teacher, each have a half vote as part of the eight-member Democrats abroad delegation. They were chosen by Americans living in 37 countries in a unique Presidential postal primary which ran from February II until “Super Tuesday” March 13.
Both Froelich, who is chairman of Democrats Abroad in Israel, and Olman are active in pursuing the particular interests of Democrats abroad, particularly making it easier for overseas Americans to register and vote.
In separate interviews with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, both noted that because of the slowness of the mails, the present system of having to register by mail and then vote by mail provided difficulties and discouraged many Americans living overseas from voting.
WORKING TO GET AMERICANS IN ISRAEL TO VOTE
But they are also interested in getting the 62,000 Americans living in Israel to vote. Froelich said that Democrats abroad have about 1,000 active members in Israel and they will seek to get out the vote. Worldwide, there are an estimated two million Americans living overseas. Olman noted that the Democratic group has helped a Republican body get started because of its belief that voting is important.
Olman, who is from Washington, D.C., came to Israel for six months to do research and now believes she may stay. Froelich, who made aliya to Israel in 1973, was born in Germany and escaped to the United States with his family via Holland in 1939. He lived in St. Louis and Brooklyn, N.Y. before moving to Israel.
Froelich participated in the 1980 Democratic convention in New York with Democrats abroad as a page and participated in the mini-convention in Philadelphia two years ago. He noted that many Americans who have settled in Israel do not participate in the U.S. elections but instead concentrate on the Israeli contests. “My own wife and daughter are only participating because of my interest,” he said.
But Froelich said he believes that “as an American citizen I can help Israel” by counteracting what he called the pro-Arab influence of the State Department. He feels that by voting American, Jews in Israel can help influence the White House.
BOTH WANTS DEMOCRATS TO WIN
While both Olman and Froelich were elected as uncornmitted delegates, both want the Democratic candidate to win. Froelich said he does not consider President Reagan a friend of Israel, noting particularly his September I, 1982 Mideast proposal which Froelich called “not very realistic.”
But he is not a hawk and stresses he would like to see negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors, without any preconditions. “That’s what Egypt did,” he said. “Someday I hope other Arab states will see the light.”
Froelich, who is an observant Jew and wears a kipah, said he is frequently stopped and asked about it, more by Jews than non-Jews. He said once he moved to Israel he decided to wear it always as a “mark of pride.” His only complaint: “I have been in many cities, but this is the worst town for finding kosher food. I started the nine days early, ” a reference to the nine days before Tisha B’av when observant Jews do not eat meat.